With the market for convertibles nearly halving since 2007, Holger Engelmann, CEO of German roof specialist Webasto, believes consolidation looms for the sector, which he believes will leave just two major players in the market. Despite this, he remains bullish about long-term prospects for the roof business and foresees potential growth opportunities in China. He spoke with Klaus-Dieter Floerecke, a reporter at Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.
With Magna CTS, Valmet and Webasto, there are only three relatively large folding roof makers remaining. Do you expect further consolidation?
Ultimately, I think that the market is no longer providing enough volume for three companies. A convertible roof is a very complex component, and a supplier needs a great deal of development competency to handle its integration into the vehicle. So a company needs an appropriate revenue volume to handle the financing for new development projects.
Has the convertible market been a disappointment to you?
Yes, compared with the condition that the market was in a few years ago. Currently the global market for convertible roofs has leveled off between 500 and 600 million euros. Five years ago, we were at about 1 billion euros and were hoping that the market might trend toward 1.2 billion euros. Depending on the launch and phase-out of car models, we are now expecting a level of up to 700 million euros in the midterm.